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Medical investigations into Autism

Your paediatrician or other professional may offer you investigations after your child’s diagnosis

These are blood test investigations looking at some general health markers (such as a haemoglobin or blood count, Vitamin D level) and some other tests which look for conditions which are known to be associated with autism (such as a muscle marker for Muscular Dystrophies), and genetic tests. The genetic tests look at differences between the child’s genetic material and the rest of the population’s.

For children without physical disability, learning disability, an unusual head size, or unusual facial features, the chances of finding something on the genetic tests are low. In this situation your paediatrician or other professional will give you the choice about whether to go ahead with these blood tests or not. There is no right or wrong way to approach this – different families feel differently about the general and genetic tests.

In the unusual situation where a definite genetic cause was found this may bring information and a ‘reason’ why the child has autism, but it does not mean there is a treatment or ‘cure’.

Parents often ask about whether their future children may have autism as well. The chance of having a child with autism is about 1% (or 1 in 100). There is an increased chance of autism in other children in the same family – the siblings of children with autism have a risk of about 5% (1 in 20). This means 95% or 19 out of 20 siblings will not have autism. It is not possible to predict or test for autism in pregnancy. Autism can vary hugely so even siblings who both have autism can be very different in the way it affects them.

 

Still want to speak to the team?

If you’re worried about your child, our team will be able to offer advice and support. You can Call Us on 0300 029 50 50 **Monday to Friday 8.30am - 4.30pm excluding bank holidays** select/ask to speak to the community paediatricians.

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